RepRap News From Around The World

All the newest news is at the bottom of the page

There is a new RepRap in town: Feb.20, 2013

There is a new RepRap in town! Kiel-based Kühling&Kühling from Germany published first details on their new RepRap design after a full year of development.Founded by mechatronics engineering students Jonas Kühling and Simon Kühling in 2012, Kühling&Kühling has a goal: to build high productivity open-source 3D printer that requires minimal maintenance.

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Named “Kühling&Kühling RepRap Industrial”, the 3D printer has a fully enclosed frame with powerful recirculating chamber heaters that raise the ambient air temperature up to 70°C. It features two extruders that allows 3D printer to print with different nozzle diameters. One is for printing the visible outer shell of an object in fine details and another, for saving production time, can be used for printing infill structure by using a bigger extrusion nozzle. You can also just use it for two-color printing.

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Specifications:

* Filament diameter: 3mm Build volume: 200mm x 200mm x 200mm * Number of extruders: 2 * Overall dimensions: 800mm x 600mm x 600mm

Features:

* Printing ABS with zero warping
* Rigid frame made of t-slot aluminium extrusion
* Fully enclosed by acrylic and wood, doors on the front
* A heated chamber capable of 65-70°C recirculating air temperature
* Heated PCB print bed
* Water cooled hot-ends and extruder steppers to ensure reliable extrusion in high ambient air temperature
* Activated-carbon air filter to remove unpleasant smell of molten plastic
* Semi-automatic print bed levelling makes calibrating the machine a matter of seconds
* Z-leadscrew bearing supported on both ends, sugru spider coupling for absolutely wobble-free operation
* Tool-free belt tensioning with built-in thumb wheels
* Direct-drive extruders with high torque geared stepper motors
* Permanent printbed material (FR4) – no Kapton or PET tape needed
* Adjustable nozzle height to align both extruders on the same level
* Custom designed, precision extruder drive gears to provide enough grip on the filament in a heated environment
* Integrated LED lighting

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Delta maker hits kickstarter

The Deltamaker hits kickstarter. They offer a simple yet elegant build platform that let’s the user print larger than ever before. I like the design even though it has been done before. I noticed that they do have an interesting vertical axis that looks like an adapted, ” maker slide.” Overall it looks like a solid machine to me. The only problem I have for my own personal use is portability. The Delta Maker just looks like it would have to be completely re-calibrated when moved around in transit. Even if some of my 3d printers are not super portable they are something that can easily be overcome. Check it out: Delta Maker
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3d Printer news from Reprap Squad: March 15th 2013

Imagine if you could take living cells, load them into a printer, and squirt out a 3D tissue that could develop into a kidney or a heart. Scientists are one step closer to that reality, now that they have developed the first printer for embryonic human stem cells.

In a new study, researchers from the University of Edinburgh have created a cell printer that spits out living embryonic stem cells. The printer was capable of printing uniform-size droplets of cells gently enough to keep the cells alive and maintain their ability to develop into different cell types. The new printing method could be used to make 3D human tissues for testing new drugs, grow organs , or ultimately print cells directly inside the body.

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are obtained from human embryos and can develop into any cell type in an adult person, from brain tissue to muscle to bone. This attribute makes them ideal for use in regenerative medicine — repairing, replacing and regenerating damaged cells, tissues or organs. [Stem Cells: 5 Fascinating Findings ]

In a lab dish, hESCs can be placed in a solution that contains the biological cues that tell the cells to develop into specific tissue types, a process called differentiation. The process starts with the cells forming what are called “embryoid bodies.” Cell printers offer a means of producing embryoid bodies of a defined size and shape.

In the new study, the cell printer was made from a modified CNC machine (a computer-controlled machining tool) outfitted with two “bio-ink” dispensers: one containing stem cells in a nutrient-rich soup called cell medium and another containing just the medium. These embryonic stem cells were dispensed through computer-operated valves, while a microscope mounted to the printer provided a close-up view of what was being printed.

The two inks were dispensed in layers, one on top of the other to create cell droplets of varying concentration. The smallest droplets were only two nanoliters, containing roughly five cells.

The cells were printed onto a dish containing many small wells. The dish was then flipped over so the droplets now hung from them, allowing the stem cells to form clumps inside each well. (The printer lays down the cells in precisely sized droplets and in a certain pattern that is optimal for differentiation.)

Tests revealed that more than 95 percent of the cells were still alive 24 hours after being printed, suggesting they had not been killed by the printing process. More than 89 percent of the cells were still alive three days later, and also tested positive for a marker of their pluripotency — their potential to develop into different cell types.

Breakthrough high-speed 3D printer with nanoscale precision: April 12th 2013

Researchers all over the world are working on 3D printers today. The Vienna University of Technology has now made a major breakthrough in the 3D printing technology: it is now possible to print three dimensional objects with incredibly fine details using “two-photon lithography”.

The 3D printer uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a polymerized line of solid polymer, just a few hundred nanometers wide.

This high resolution enables the creation of intricately structured sculptures as tiny as a grain of sand. “Until now, this technique used to be quite slow”, says Professor Jürgen Stampfl from the Institute of Materials Science and Technology at the TU Vienna. “The printing speed used to be measured in millimeters per second – our device can do five meters in one second.” In two-photon lithography, this is a world record.

This amazing progress was made possible by combining several new ideas. “It was crucial to improve the control mechanism of the mirrors”, says Jan Torgersen (TU Vienna). The mirrors are continuously in motion during the printing process. The acceleration and deceleration-periods have to be tuned very precisely to achieve high-resolution results at a record-breaking speed.

3D-printing is not all about mechanics – chemists had a crucial role to play in this project too. “The resin contains molecules, which are activated by the laser light. They induce a chain reaction in other components of the resin, so-called monomers, and turn them into a solid”, says Jan Torgersen. These initiator molecules are only activated if they absorb two photons of the laser beam at once – and this only happens in the very center of the laser beam, where the intensity is highest. In contrast to conventional 3D-printing techniques, solid material can be created anywhere within the liquid resin rather than on top of the previously created layer only. Therefore, the working surface does not have to be specially prepared before the next layer can be produced (see Video), which saves a lot of time. A team of chemists led by Professor Robert Liska (TU Vienna) developed the suitable initiators for this special resin.

The dramatically increased speed means that much larger objects can now be created in a given period of time – making two-photon-lithography more useful for industry. The 3d printer could also be used to create tailor made construction parts for biomedical technology or nanotechnology. The TU Vienna team is now developing bio-compatible resins for medical applications, creating scaffolds to which living cells can attach themselves.

The bottleneck of the two photon polymerisation technique was the long processing time. To fabricate parts visible without a microscope, several days of structuring was necessary. Usual process speeds of several 100µm/s were reported. TU Vienna could improve the 2PP technique considerably. Using novel photopolymerisable systems (synthesised at the Institute of Applied Synthetic Chemistry) and a new mechanical setup (designed and assembled at the Institute of Materials Science and Technology), they are now able to fabricate at speeds of up to 5m/s.

New 3D scanner hits the market: May 18th 2013

Matterform’s Photon 3D Scanner is a $350-$400 IndieGoGo-funded gadget from Canada. It promises to be operable by novices with no particular knowledge of 3D modelling or printing. It folds up to a small package, making it portable as well, and it can complete a scan in three minutes, working at dimensions up to 7.5″ diam/9.5″ height. The project is fully funded, but you can still pre-order by adding to the campaign; they’re estimating general fulfillment by August.
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The Photon allows anyone to take a physical object, and turn it into a digital 3D model on your computer. From there, you can print your file on any 3D printer, or online printing service. Or use the model you created in an animation or video game. We’ve been developing the Photon hardware and software from scratch for the past year and now we’re ready to release it to you. We’ll fulfill all the indiegogo pledges first so if you’re excited to get one, supporting us now is the best route and you can take advantage of our special intro pricing.

Make your own cellphone: May 18th 2013

David Mellis at the High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab built a DIY Cellphone, making a custom circuit-board and laser-cutting his own wooden case. The files are hosted on GitHub in case you’d like to try your hand at it.
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An exploration into the possibilities for individual construction and customization of the most ubiquitous of electronic devices, the cellphone. By creating and sharing open-source designs for the phone’s circuit board and case, we hope to encourage a proliferation of personalized and diverse mobile phones. Freed from the constraints of mass production, we plan to explore diverse materials, shapes, and functions. We hope that the project will help us explore and expand the limits of do-it-yourself (DIY) practice. How close can a homemade project come to the design of a cutting edge device? What are the economics of building a high-tech device in small quantities? Which parts are even available to individual consumers? What’s required for people to customize and build their own devices?
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The initial prototype combines a custom electronic circuit board with a laser-cut plywood and veneer enclosure. The phone accepts a standard SIM card and works with any GSM provider. Cellular connectivity is provided by the SM5100B GSM Module, available from SparkFun Electronics. The display is a color 1.8″, 160×128 pixel, TFT screen on a breakout board from Adafruit Industries. Flexures in the veneer allow pressing of the buttons beneath. Currently, the software supports voice calls, although SMS and other functionality could be added with the same hardware. The prototype contains about $150 in parts.

Bringing 3D printing into schools for job training

A Japanese television news crew visited Buford Middle School this week to watch closely how students crafted their own sound speakers from plastic and paper with 3D printing technology.The Japanese team is producing a program for Japanese television featuring U.S. efforts to bring more technology into schools.
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The school is granted $300,000 from the state for creating a “laboratory school for advanced manufacturing technologies” and for preparing students for high-tech jobs. For teachers this is also a brand new experiences to combine new technology with traditional education.Learning by doing – “It connects theoretical or conceptual knowledge and applied knowledge,” said Rosa Atkins, Charlottesville schools superintendent. “It gives the reason behind the theory.”The goal of this program, according to professor Glen Bull, is “to develop coursework that can be replicated in schools across the country.” In the future all high school students are expected to get the chance to study advanced manufacturing in college.On Monday students showed off how they used UVa-created software and a 3D printer to make the plastic support structure for a paper cone “woofer,” a speaker that enhances the bass. And it works very well.
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Buford Middle School is not the only school who sees a growing importance of education for future workforce. The STEM Academy, a non-profit status organization in U.S. dedicated to improving STEM literacy for all students, today announced a partnership with Stratasys, 3D printers manufacturer, to advocate for best of class STEM programming. The partnership incorporates Stratasys 3D printers into the STEM Academy’s curriculum programing and allows students to print their designs into actual 3D objects.

In addition to enhancing the learning experience, 3D printing technology also allows students to build a work portfolio while still in high school, better preparing students to earn internships and career advancement upon high school graduation.Another company, LulzBot, makers of the desktop 3D printer, is partnering with the DAVE School, the Digital Animation and Visual Effects School, to offer a new 3D printer training program that will be open to students and corporations.Offered exclusively at The DAVE School, the 3D printing training program will bridge a gap by teaching people how to print objects using computer modeling and a 3D printer.

Presently, The DAVE School incorporates a LulzBot printer into its curriculum to print character models, but teachers and students have also found it useful in creating props, miniatures and a new stop-motion animation camera currently under construction.”We continue to find creative uses for 3D printing at The DAVE School and believe it will become a fundamental part of the film, animation and gaming industry going forward,” said Jeff Scheetz, The DAVE School Founder and Director. “With this new training program, we will introduce 3D printing to not only the entertainment industry, but any sector needing prototyping and short-run manufacturing.”President Obama gave his annual State of the Union address in February and talked about bringing technology into schools for job training. “I think it’s interesting that they’re including 3-D computerization and printing into the education program at this level and what it means for the future of job training in the U.S.,” said Takashi Yanagisawa, a correspondent with Japan’s Nippon Television.”It’s something we probably should consider in our country, as well,” Yanagisawa said.

Chicago! Library Maker Space: July 1st 2013

Chicagoans will soon have free access to 3D printers and other digital tools. The Chicago Public Library (CPL) is opening CPL Innovation Lab, the city’s first free “maker space” on the third floor of the Harold Washington Library Center.

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Another example of a Maker Space at Detroit Public Library

The first innovation experiment in the space is the Maker Lab. Created in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, the Library’s Maker Lab will offer the public an access to a variety of software such as Trimble Sketchup, Inkscape, Meshlab, Makercam and equipment including three 3D Printers, two laser cutters, as well as a milling machine and vinyl cutter.

Made possible with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Maker Lab will be open to the public from July 8 through December 31, 2013. Though a number of maker spaces already exist in Chicago, this will be the first free maker space open to the public.

After the six month run, the Library will evaluate the project to determine the fit with the Library’s mission and the ability to bring the project, or elements of it, to a wider audience in the neighborhood branches.

A variety of programs and workshops will be offered at the Maker Lab, for example family workshops will be offered every Sunday afternoon to foster invention and creation.

Nasa builds a FDM printer for space: July 4th 2013

After nearly two years of R&D, and testing several different commercial 3D printers in zero gravity, NASA has partnered with Made in Space to develop a 3D printer for space. The “3-D Printing in Zero G Experiment (3-D Print)” device will be the first machine to make parts in space, and will be used on the International Space Station (ISS).

Scheduled for certification and launch next year, the printer is an extrusion-based additive manufacturing machine, which deposits plastic via a wire feed through an extruder head. The technology is also known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).

“The first version 3D printer we are developing with NASA is a typical extrusion-based technology which uses a variety of thermoplastics as feedstock,” Made in Space CTO Jason Dunn told Design News in an email. “Today we are printing in ABS, but also experimenting with other materials, as well as developing our own unique materials suited for the space environment.”

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After nearly two years of R&D, and testing several different commercial 3D printers in zero gravity, NASA has partnered with Made in Space to develop a 3D printer for use on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system. It will be certified and launched next year for initial deployment on the International Space Station.
(Source: Made in Space)


This phase of the project, started last October at Marshall Space Flight Center, is operating under NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. It aims to develop a zero-gravity 3D printer that astronauts can use on the ISS, or other locations within the solar system. The farther away from Earth the astronauts are, the more expensive it is in fuel costs to ship needed items when astronauts run out, and the longer it takes to get resupplied. Eventually, the printers could be used for making replacement parts, tools, instruments, housing structures, laboratories, and even small satellites.

In a separate project exploring how astronauts can build structures on the moon or Mars, NASA has worked with University of Southern California engineers. As we’ve told you before, those researchers are developing methods for making roads, landing pads, and other infrastructure for astronauts and even human settlers there, using Contour Crafting’s fabrication robot. This robotic construction technology can use local materials, such as lunar soil, to build structures onsite.

Made in Space had already tested commercial printers and its own 3D Print prototype during 2011 in microgravity environments on suborbital flights, as we’ve previously reported. Included in these tests were a 3D Systems Bits from Bytes 3000 printer, another off-the-shelf printer from MakerBot, and a third printer Made in Space customized for making structures in space. AutoDesk, which worked with Made in Space to optimize space-based design principles, is a sponsor of the project, as is 3D Systems.

NASA has also funded other 3D printing research for use in space or outside Earth’s orbit. For example, we’ve told you about Washington State University (WSU) engineers working with NASA who used an imitation moon rock material, lunar regolith simulant, to 3D print simple tools or replacement parts. This team used Laser Engineering Net Shaping (LENS) technology, specifically, the LENS-750 systems.

K-12 Newly Released Report: In 5 years 3D printing will dramatically effect kids July: 30th 2013

In a newly released report, the New Media Consortium (NMC) has identified six emerging technologies that could dramatically impact K-12 education. Among the new technologies are: cloud computing, mobile learning, open content, virtual/remote laboratories and, of course, 3D printing.

While the report projects that 3D printing will be among the last technologies to be widely adopted by educators, it does lavish the new technology with praise. “One of the most significant aspects of 3D printing for teaching and learning is that it enables more authentic exploration of objects that may not be readily available to schools.”
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The NMC report goes on to describe the numerous ways 3D printing could be used to improve education. “In science and history classes, for example, students can make and interact with models of fragile objects such as fossils and artifacts. Through rapid prototyping and production tools, chemistry students can print out models of complex proteins and other molecules, similar to what can be seen in 3D Molecular Design’s Model Gallery.”

Although 3D printing is an incredible way to print demonstration models that can help bring a classroom to life, the true benefit of the technology can only be realized when students themselves get to interact with the machines. “While it has become easier for teachers and students to work with these models, some of the most compelling applications of 3D printing in K-12 come from schools and programs that involve students creating something that is all their own.”

As colleges and universities across the globe begin to add 3D printers to their science labs and art departments, students exposed to the technology will be better prepared to make the most of their education.

Jul.31, 2013: Fuel 3D Affordable High Def Scanner Hits Kickstarter

Fuel3D Inc. today launched Fuel3D, an affordable handheld 3D scanner that captures extremely high resolution mesh and color information of objects on crowd funding platform Kickstarter.
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Born in Oxford University, Fuel3D is claimed to be the world’s first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging to capture and process a 3D model in seconds.
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Originally developed for the medical imaging sector, Fuel3D’s technology is being adapted for the broader 3D market. It delivers high resolution shape and color capture for a range of 3D modeling applications, such as 3D printing, 3D art and 3D game development.

The Fuel3D scanner works in much the same way as a normal digital camera – literally just point and shoot. It can be used by anyone who wants the ability to rapidly create 3D models.

Once a shot has been taken on the Fuel3D scanner the raw image data is converted into true 3D color geometrical data by a software, which is included with the Fuel3D scanner. The 3D color data file can then be viewed from any direction, edited, and used as source material for 3D printing or for on-screen manipulation.
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In order to enhance the Fuel3D product offering, the company has teamed up with 3D design software company, Uformia, so that Kickstarter pledgers will have the opportunity to get their product bundled with Uformia’s MeshUp software, the first real volume modeler for meshes, allowing any creator to make sure their models are always ready for 3D printing.

“The explosion of 3D printing and the continued expansion of the games market means that there is an increasing demand for 3D scanning products that capture high resolution 3D data,” said Stuart Mead, CEO, Fuel3D Inc. “With Fuel3D, our goal is to bring high quality 3D scanning to a wider market by making it available at an affordable price-point.”

“The unique technology that we have developed allows us to offer what is literally a point-and-shoot approach to capturing both 3D data and color, and we are confident that no one else in the world is able to offer this kind of solution at the price that we can achieve.” said James Paterson, CTO Fuel3D Inc.

In a special offer only available through Kickstarter, pledgers will be able to get an early-bird Fuel3D scanner for $750. Today, a buyer could expect to pay over $15,000 for a handheld scanner that provides similar quality results to Fuel3D, says the company.

Pre-production Fuel3D units will be available in Spring 2014, with full production following soon thereafter.

Stratasys to Provide 3D Printers to The UPS Store for New Retail 3D Printing Service August. 2nd: 2013

MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel, Aug 01, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Stratasys Ltd. SSYS -0.16% , a leading manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems, today announced that it has been selected by The UPS Store to provide its 3D printing systems to The UPS Store as part of a test program that will make it the first national retailer in the U.S. to offer 3D printing service to entrepreneurs, architects, start-ups and other retail customers. This service will enable UPS Store customers to have their 3D design 3D printed

The test signals a collaborative effort by Stratasys and The UPS Store to make 3D printing accessible to small businesses as awareness of the technology and its capabilities grows. Stratasys 3D Printers can create on-demand, custom objects of virtually any complexity in a fast and simple process.

“3D printing technology is becoming increasingly accessible to a growing number of companies and consumers. Small businesses are beginning to realize how this revolutionary technology can help them to be more competitive,” said Stratasys Executive Vice President, Jon Cobb. “The UPS Store and Stratasys share the vision of strengthening innovation and competitiveness by making 3D printing accessible to a growing number of users.”

While the program is aimed at small businesses, it is open to anyone interested in trying out on-site 3D printing services. “After doing a lot of research, we went with the Stratasys uPrint, because it has a small footprint and is easy to operate,” said The UPS Store small business technology leader, Daniel Remba.

Following the launch of the test, retail customers will be able to bring a Computer Aided Design (CAD) file to participating UPS Store locations and have their 3D design printed on-site.

The UPS Store is installing Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D Printers in six test locations, beginning in San Diego.

Stratasys Ltd. SSYS -0.10% is the corporate entity formed in 2012 by the merger of 3D printing companies Stratasys Inc. and Objet Ltd., based in Minneapolis, Minn. and Rehovot, Israel. Stratasys manufactures 3D printers and materials for prototyping and production. The company’s patented FDM(R) and PolyJet(R) processes produce prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files or other 3D content. Systems include affordable desktop 3D printers for idea development, a range of systems for prototyping, and large production systems for direct digital manufacturing. Since June 2012, the company’s range of over 130 3D printing materials is the widest in the industry and includes more than 120 proprietary inkjet-based photopolymer materials and 10 proprietary FDM-based thermoplastic materials. Stratasys also manufactures Solidscape 3D Printers and operates the RedEye On Demand digital-manufacturing service. The company has more than 1100 employees, holds more than 500 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally, and has received more than 20 awards for its technology and leadership. Online at: http://www.stratasys.com or http://blog.stratasys.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Statements regarding Stratasys’ beliefs, intentions and expectations, including without limitation statements regarding the development and performance of our products, are forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws). The statements involve risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors, including the risk and uncertainty that the businesses of the two companies may not be integrated successfully; the risk that the merger may involve unexpected costs or unexpected liabilities; the risk that synergies from the merger may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; the risk that management’s focus on and disruptions arising from the merger make it more difficult to maintain relationships with customers, employees, or suppliers.

Stratasys’ ability to achieve the results presented in any forward-looking statement will depend on numerous factors, including its ability to penetrate the 3D printing market; its ability to achieve the growth rates experienced in preceding quarters; its ability to introduce, produce and market both existing and new consumable materials, and the market acceptance of these materials; the impact of competitive products and pricing; its timely development of new products and materials and market acceptance of those products and materials; the success of Stratasys’ recent R&D initiative to expand the DDM capabilities of its core FDM technology; and the success of Stratasys’ RedEye On DemandTM and other paid parts services. This list is intended to identify only certain of the principal factors that could cause actual results to differ. These and other applicable factors are discussed in this presentation and in Stratasys’ Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2012, as well as other filings that Stratasys, Inc. has made with the SEC and that Stratasys Ltd. has made and will make with the SEC in the future. Any forward-looking statements included in this presentation are as of the date they are given, and Stratasys is not obligated to update them if its views later change, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Stratasys’ views as of any date subsequent to the date they are given.

FDM, Stratasys, uPrint and Objet are registered trademarks, and Fused Deposition Modeling is a trademark of Stratasys Ltd. and or its subsidiaries or affiliates.

3D Printing at Home: Small Savings Will Add Up August. 2nd: 2013

3D printing may be heralded for the ability to print everything from body parts to prosthetics, but the true breakthrough for the technology will come from the ability to print much simpler products, one researcher predicts.

Joshua Pearce, an associate professor at the Michigan Technological University, said 3D printing, a process that builds layers of plastic and other materials into a finished product, will go mainstream when consumers realize how much they can save from printing products they frequently use.

To prove this, Pearce and his research team picked 20 common household items that were listed on Thingiverse— a site that provides free designs for 3D printing— and compared the cost of printing those items with the cost of buying them. Items included smartphone accessories, a garlic press, a showerhead, spoon holder and more. Printing those items potentially saved consumers close to $2,000.

[3D Printing: What a 3D Printer Is and How It Works]

Even taking into account the cost of the printer — which can range from $350 to $2,000 — printing common items remains an attractive option for consumers looking to save money. Pearce estimates that 3D printers can pay for themselves within a few months depending on how many items users print.

“For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime,” Pearce said. “It would be a different kind of capitalism, where you don’t need a lot of money to create wealth for yourself or even start a business. With the exponential growth of free designs and expansion of 3D printing, we are creating enormous potential wealth for everyone.”

Additionally, Peace said the convenience and simplification of 3D printing is also contributing to greater adoption of the technology by a more mainstream audience. Pearce conducted the research with students Ben Wittbrodt, Alexandra Glover and John Loreto and faculty members Gerald Anzalone; Douglas Oppliger and John Irwin.

Hybrid Technology May Be The Future
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Most in the 3D printing community know that 3D printing is only the beginning, that additive manufacturing is only a component in something more to come. A patent filed by iRobot earlier this year for an all-in-one 3D printing station described a machine that combined additive and subtractive manufacturing, along with some robotic arms that could manipulate objects within the workspace, to create a complete production solution. Due to the company’s fame, however, iRobot’s patent was just one of the more attention-grabbing stories about hybrid additive and subtractive manufacturing. In actuality, if you’ve read previous 3DPI posts on the topic, the iRobot patent may be a representation of the future of 3D printing.

They may not be as sophisticated as iRobot’s machine, but, at least the MEbotics’s “machine shop in a box” and the FABtotum Personal Fabricator are much more than a bunch of fun patent sketches. Indeed, the two distinct machines are real, tangible devices – one, perhaps more real than the other – that could move from the prototype stages to the production stages if they can get their separate crowdfunding campaigns off the ground.
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First, let’s look at the Microfactory. Sure, the Microfactory lacks iRobot’s hypothetical robotic arms, but it does offer a lot of features that would make a number of Makers very happy. Primarily, the Microfactory is a combination CNC machine and 3D printer. So, with its powerful print head, which consists of two extruders and one spindle, the machine can both print an object and mill an object in a perfect marriage of additive and subtractive manufacturing. And, because milling is such a messy process, with bits of material flying all over the place, the MEbotics team has included a hole fit for vacuum tubing so that the device can self-clean during the milling process.
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Moreover, the extruders are capable of printing multiple materials and colours (not simultaneously), so with the Microfactory, it’s possible to produce an item made from one material in four colors or two materials in two colors, putting the Microfactory a step closer to providing an all-in-one manufacturing device. If that isn’t exciting enough to make you want one of these things, then I don’t know what is (Maybe if it could learn to print metal?).

New 3D Pen Will Beat 3DDoodler To Market
August 23rd 2013

The 3Doodler struck some sort of chord with gadget fans and, as a result, the $75 3D printing pen raked in $2.3 million on Kickstarter earlier this year. The project was only seeking $30,000 to bring handheld, three dimensional creativity to the masses. With a success like that, other folks were sure to hop on the bandwagon. Enter, the SwissPen, a 3D printing pen that will beat the 3Doodler to market by at least four months.
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The SwissPen looks a lot like the 3Doodler, but the similarities don’t stop there. The demo video shows the SwissPen doing much of the same stuff that got the internet all hot and bothered over the 3Doodler. The SwissPen can be used to trace patterns on a piece of paper, which can be fitted together later. You can also layer plastic to create a 3D shape straightaway. Though, this probably won’t be as easy as it sounds.

Like the 3Doodler, the SwissPen can use either ABS or PLA plastic strands. PLA tends to be better suited for complex shapes, but ABS is more useful when drawing a 3D shape upwards from a surface. In fact, the plastic comparison chart on the SwissPen site is a dead ringer for the one on the 3Doodler page.
The people behind SwisPen are looking to sell the device for 102.60 Swiss Franc, which works out to a little over $110. The 3Doodler will be $99 when it comes out (Kickstarter backers got it cheaper). Remember the SwissPen is Swiss — it will have to be shipped internationally, which adds at least $30 to the final price.

You’re basically paying a premium to get the SwissPen in October, which is much earlier than the 3Doodler’s expected February 2014 ship date. However, the original Kickstarter backers should be getting their pre-order units in September. The SwissPen comes with 20 strands of plastic in each of 11 different colors.

Phoenix 3D Printer Reaches Into The Sub $500 Printer Market
September 22nd 2013

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3D printing is booming, with new printers appearing on the market every week. Today the Phoenix 3D Printer has just reached its $20,000 funding goal on Kickstarter. The Phoenix is another low-cost entry-level 3D printer. But what makes this 3D printer different than others in the market? It is a management software that makes 3D printing easier, according to Ez3D, the team behind the Phoenix. The software manages your filament, colors and groups your STL files into logical groups. It has also a print recovery mode so when something goes wrong in the middle of your print, such as filament tangles and nozzle jams, you can pause the print, fix your tangled filament or clogged nozzle, rewind the print to the point of failure, and try again. And you can monitor your print progress or check estimated time remaining from your iPhone or iPad.

In addition, the Phoenix 3D printer uses a belt to drive their Z axis up and down instead of threaded rods and this results in an extremely straight wall prints, says the printer designer Jerry Wood. The design of the extruder is improved to help prevent heat from traveling up the filament.
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Here's an example of the print quality of the Phoenix 3D

Printer Specifications

●Build Area: 240 x 215 x 200 millimeters
●Resolution: 0.1mm all around
●12-volt, 40-watt heater 0.35mm brass nozzle
●Heated bed
●12-volt, 20-amp, 240-watt power supply
●Integrated filament spool holder
●Adjustable Z-axis cutoff switch for reliable print starts
●Another important part of making this printer appeal to consumers is the price. At $374 for the Phoenix 3D printer kit, it’s not the cheapest printer out there, but it’s very close. A fully assembled Phoenix costs also just $399, this is a very compelling offering.

Industry giants Google and 3D Systems have joined forces to develop a high-speed 3D printer designed specifically to print smartphones. February 28th 2014

Named project Ara, the joint venture is an ambitious plan to create an open hardware platform that will serve as the base for modular mobile phone construction. Similar to Motorola’s modular smartphone concept, Google’s Ara would allow users to customize their phones by choosing which components they’d like to add to the cell phone’s base platform.

As part of the joint venture 3D Systems is currently working hand in hand with Google to create a high-speed printer capable of building full color 600dpi component enclosures.
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While the immediate vision for 3D Systems’ role in Ara is purely aesthetic, Google believes that users will eventually be able to print electrical components like antennas that can be integrated into their phones. What’s more, Google’s ambitious vision is eyeing the eventual development of a 3D printer/digital manufacturing technology that can produce conductive materials, plastics and various other metals all within the same machine.

According to an interview in Time magazine, Google’s project is moving along swiftly and a fully functional Project Ara prototype will be debuted in April, with a commercial launch expected next year.
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While modular phones might seem like a novelty, the ability to instantly upgrade features like a battery, camera or antenna could make the world of mobile computing even more adaptable; which is especially important as our already vital smartphones may one day become completely indispensible.

SeeMeCNC – Builds a 15ft Delta 3D Printer
July 26th 2014
SeeMeCNC is an early player in the 3D printer industry. They have built affordable Rostok 3D printer kits and ORION series of 3D printers based on delta system. As a result, it is not suprising that SeeMeCNC has come up another large delta 3D printer, the SeeMeCNC Partdaddy.

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The build table of the SeeMeCNC Partdaddy is 1.2m (about 4 feet) in diameter and build height is 4.5 meters (or almost 15 feet)! According to an early note from SeeMeCNC, the Partdaddy is designed to use plastic pellets instead of filament. “Plastic pellets will be transferred to the extruder using compressed air or vacuum. The extruder mounts directly to the platform and will be a custom designed.” SeeMeCNC notes.

The general construction is similar to the standard size t-slot design for the Rostock MAX. Its main parts CNC machined aluminum. 3D printing with plastic pellets offers important benefits to the users, and it significantly lowers the cost. For the nozzle, it has a swappable 6.35 or 7.25mm nozzle. The Partdaddy will not be as accurate as commercial 3D printer and is more suited for making complex and larger objects.

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The SeeMeCNC Partdaddy delta 3D printer will be unveiled at Maker Faire Detroit on Saturday and Sunday, July 26th and 27th. Watch the video below the Partdaddy 15 foot tall delta printer gets elevated in SeeMeCNC shop.

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